Strictly Short – Shipping Larger Items

Ever since sealed product was added to PucaTrade, I’ve been receiving many questions regarding how to ship larger, and weirdly shaped packages.  I’ve been selling odd sized boxes and sealed product on eBay for a while now and have found some economical shipping methods. These can be leveraged for shipping anything but I will only cover the most commonly sent Magic Product.

Shipping Labels

The first and most important piece of advice I can give is to use PayPal to ship. By using PayPal you’re able to save money on the cost of shipping, obtain your tracking number immediately, file customs paperwork, and print your own shipping label.

Some people I’ve spoken to have reported that they just show up to their local Post Office with what they want to ship and ask for help.  This tends to yield the worst horror stories.  One user told me he ended up paying $15 to ship a Commander Deck. I only recommend this option if you’re short on time and don’t have a chance to prepare your package. I recently sent a bulk box the size of an unopened commander box for $5.75.pp2

In order to leverage PayPal shipping to the fullest value, I recommend printing your own labels.  I get my labels for free from UPS. I use the 4-per sheet labels for padded envelopes and 2-per sheet labels for larger packages. I did have to obtain some templates online for my version of Word and do some tweaks to them to fit the UPS labels but I found this to be well worth my time to spend in order to get free labels. I’m not covering this in more depth because everyone’s configuration may be different based on printer, software and Operating System.pp1

I create and print new labels from PayPal by going to http://www.paypal.com/shipnow. I choose my desired shipping method and pp4then generate the label I need. In a bit, I’ll cover the shipping types that I use.  After filling out the Ship to Address and selecting the shipping method, I calculate Shipping Cost and then Confirm and Pay. My account is charged and label generated.  At the prompt to Print, I use the Windows Snipping Tool to snip out just the label from the print preview window so the added junk at the bottom half is discarded. The rest of label printing is easy, as I just copy and paste the snipped label into my Word template and reorient the image accordingly.

Small Sealed Product

If I’m shipping small sealed product, a high-value card or a stack of cards too thick for an envelope, I use small 4×7 padded envelopes that can be bought for as little as $.11 each. These envelopes can fit a handful of booster packs also. I use the First Class Mail Parcel Service option with the Package type of Package/Thick Envelope selected. This makes the cost $2.60 for mostly all padded envelopes I send.  I try to accurately list the package weight and have found that I usually always stay at that rate.

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Larger Sealed Product

For my larger items (Booster Boxes, Commander Decks, and broken down Fat Packs) I order Priority Mail Padded Flat Rate Envelopes for free from USPS.  Here is the link for all of their free shipping materials (in case you need to order some other items too). The important thing to remember about these envelopes is that you can shape and tape them to fit your item, but you cannot cut them.  When placing a box inside one of these padded envelopes I tape down the corners of the envelope (almost like wrapping a Christmas Gift) so that the envelope fits tight around the booster box.  I try to get as much as the air out from between the envelope and the product as possible as I do not want the product to move around.

Sealed Fat Packs are very very tricky to fit into these. I know of one user who successfully fit one in these envelopes.  I try to avoid doing this for Fat Packs that the recipient intends on keeping sealed.  I have found that when moving newer product I can convince the buyer to let me open just the external packaging and remove the cardboard dividers that make the Fat Packs so tall.  I leave the internal packs, land packs and dice sealed in the Fat Pack, and place it into the large padded envelope. If breaking down the Fat Packs will not be an option, I’ll move to a Flat Rate Box and ship it that way.  Even though boxes can also be obtained for free, I try to avoid these, because they’re not economical -unless you are fitting multiple boxes into one flat rate box. I wont’t go into deeper detail on this method because it’s pretty situational, and I’d suggest getting the free boxes and seeing what shipping option on PayPal is the most economical for that particular situation.

I hope you have learned something from my shipping methods.  If you have something to share, please leave a comment at the bottom.

And as always Drive a Tranquil Bargain Friends.

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Jeremy aka “Strictly Average” is an ‘average’ guy with ‘average’ plans. He is the creator and overboss of Strictly Average Gaming, which includes the Patreon group and StrictlyAverageMTG.com

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